HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Economy & Education » Education (Group) » Are charter schools usele...

Sat Jun 23, 2012, 01:57 PM

Are charter schools useless?

When we started looking around for a new school for our son in San Francisco, we looked at private, charter and other public schools. I went to the Greatschools web site, and saw that test scores at the charter schools were no better, and in some cases worse, that the traditional public elementary schools. What am I missing? Is it unique to San Francisco. Is it because of the students they serve? Are charter schools not living up to the hype? What's going on?

11 replies, 3282 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Are charter schools useless? (Original post)
RandySF Jun 2012 OP
MADem Jun 2012 #1
RandySF Jun 2012 #2
elleng Jun 2012 #8
stopbush Jun 2012 #3
longship Jun 2012 #4
thelordofhell Jun 2012 #5
proud2BlibKansan Jun 2012 #6
louis-t Jun 2012 #7
noamnety Jun 2012 #9
Nikia Jun 2012 #10
Starry Messenger Jun 2012 #11

Response to RandySF (Original post)

Sat Jun 23, 2012, 02:01 PM

1. I think they are like the little girl with the little curl...!

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.

And when she was good,
She was very, VERY good!

But when she was bad
She was HORRID!


When they're good, they are very very good, and when they're bad....well, they may not always be horrid, but they're pretty lousy.

I am a fan of public schools, myself. I like certified teachers. I wish we'd invest more in public schools on a national level...but that would butt up against "states' rights." I guess every state has a "right" to produce morons, depending on the tax base in that particular community....

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MADem (Reply #1)

Sat Jun 23, 2012, 02:06 PM

2. It's why we chose a Catholic school.

The district put barriers in out way when we tried to move him to a public elementary that had a better handle on school discipline, but we were not thrilled with the charters either. The Archdiocese of SF requires that full time teachers be CA certified.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MADem (Reply #1)

Sat Jun 23, 2012, 02:34 PM

8. THANKS for the memory!

Dad used to recite that to me!

And right, about the schools. Friends went to a great one, years ago, in DC, we went private and then Catholic, as DC hadn't, and still hasn't, gotten its act together.

Feds investing in public schools wouldn't help, imo, local control being what it is, that is, chancy, and not possible, imo, to establish good, useful standards nationwide.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RandySF (Original post)

Sat Jun 23, 2012, 02:07 PM

3. That's the norm, and not just in SF. Public schools outperform charter schools

no matter how much $ is diverted to charters.

They're basically a RW scam.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RandySF (Original post)

Sat Jun 23, 2012, 02:08 PM

4. Econ 101

They get money from state. They spend less per student and pay their teachers less, both so they can make a profit, which they often do not do.

Charter schools are educational Three Card Monty with all this risk put on the students.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RandySF (Original post)

Sat Jun 23, 2012, 02:14 PM

5. Yes

Unless you're running the charter school. Then you're making too much money to care.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RandySF (Original post)

Sat Jun 23, 2012, 02:18 PM

6. I can only speak of the ones in my city.

We have 20. Two of them have done well. One has always had success. It serves mainly middle class white kids. The other one took several years but finally started having pretty good test scores and college admission rates. It's heavily subsidized by a local wealthy family. I heard $56 million but I have no way of knowing if that's accurate.

The other 18 all have very low test scores, high dropout rates, etc. Not a one is successful. And the kids bounce in and out of them, from charter to charter, back to the traditional public schools, then a different charter, etc. It's a mess.

I'd put my own kids in the one consistently successful charter. But none of the others.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RandySF (Original post)

Sat Jun 23, 2012, 02:18 PM

7. You're not missing anything.

You hit the nail on the head. There is no evidence that shows charter school students do better, they do worse in some cases. Some charter schools are offering starting salaries to teachers as low as $18,000. There is only one reason for charter school existence: to make money for some guy who is already rich. End of story.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RandySF (Original post)

Sat Jun 23, 2012, 05:06 PM

9. Test scores are often useless.

 

Just to give you an example - a school can perform basically the same from one year to the next, and yet jump from top in the county to lowest. How is that possible?

If a subgroup is too small to count, those scores aren't included in the state's grades (at least in
Michigan). So if a school is small, which charter schools often are, in one year a demographic might be included in the scores, and the next year they might have one or two less of those students and they aren't counted. When you meet with administrators at a school you are interested in, I recommend asking about that specifically - which groups of students are included in the test scores you're looking at?

Another thing that influences test scores are which populations decide to go to a charter. Students who feel like their neighborhood school is serving them well don't have as much motivation to look for other options. So you may have students coming from failing schools going to a charter. It's natural to want to compare scores from a charter in a decent neighborhood to the neighborhood schools in that same area. But the students they are pulling may actually be nearby inner city kids coming from poor schools or are dealing with the effects of poverty in their personal lives, which spills into their achievement.

Some charters are run by a corporate management company, others aren't. So if the profit aspect matters to you, find out if the charter you're looking into is truly public (all run and managed by public officials and a true nonprofit) or not. Also ask if the teachers are certified. Some charters require all teachers to be fully certified and others may not depending on the state.

You should also figure out what matters to you in a school environment. Is it only test scores? What else is important to you?

Asking if charters are "good" is like asking if traditional public schools are "good." Some are awesome, some suck. And there are a lot of factors that affect student achievement at any school.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RandySF (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 12:34 PM

10. Many around here (WI) seem to be themed

In that they concentrate more time on specific topics or way of learning. If that is the case, you should examine whether those topics or learning styles would be appropriate to your child than at a traditional public school. If those topics or learning styles would be beneficial to your child, make sure that the schools still do a good job of covering the basics.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RandySF (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 12:54 PM

11. They're useful for siphoning off tax money.

They are serving the same communities public schools are serving--I think they tend to reflect the same reality that public schools deal with (if they aren't cherry picking, which often, they are).

I don't think test scores are what make a "great school", but since many charters use that as their reason to exist, then by that standard they do fall short and are often worse than public schools.

We could have great schools in the US if they were all properly funded and if as a country we were committed to economic justice in all of our communities. There should be no hungry children in classrooms, straining to take tests that are created and scored by private companies making a profit.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread